Friday, February 06, 2009

LV Pacific Series - RR2 - Day 1: Damiani Italia beats Emirates Team NZ

[Source: LV Pacific Series] Racing in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series took on fresh intensity today as a newcomer team from Italy defeated hosts Emirates Team New Zealand and champion Swiss team Alinghi snatched a last minute victory from Britain’s Team Origin.

The biggest upset of the day came as the newcomer, Damiani Italia Challenge, steered by Francesco Bruni convincingly put away undefeated Emirates Team New Zealand in the best tacking duel seen in this series after winning the start.

Kiwi skipper Dean Barker said: “We tried to end the race at the start and due to my misjudgement we ended up in a bad position. Damiani didn’t put a foot wrong and sailed very well.”

The ten international teams were racing in the first of five day’s competition in the second round of the match race regatta on Auckland Harbour. After a long wait for a northerly breeze to fill in they raced in conditions that ranged from ten knots for the first of five races to 18 knots by the end of the day.

The nailbiter race came as the new British Team Origin led America’s Cup champions Alinghi around the first three legs of a four leg course, only to lose ground with some untidy gennaker work that gave Ed Baird, skipper of the Swiss boat the edge he needed to overtake and win.

China Team, which cut its teeth on Louis Vuitton Cup competition in Valencia in 2007, showed excellent form today against South Africa’s Shosholoza. China skipper Ian Williams narrowly held off Shosholoza’s Paolo Cian until the start of the second run when the South African boat had gennaker problems that saw them trawling the big chute like a giant drogue.

There were two other races. Cup champion Russell Coutts dished out a master class on starting technique in his matchup with Italy’s Luna Rossa sailed by Peter Holmberg. The Americans won by 58 seconds. There was a closer race between Gavin Brady steering the Greek Challenge and the French boat Pataugas K-Challenge with Sebastian Col at the helm. The French prevailed all around the course.

Peter Holmberg steers Luna Rossa under testing conditions. Auckland, 5 February 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann /

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